By Natasha Robin | WVUE | June 9, 2020
Calls from protestors to defund the police grows louder.
“It means different things to different people. This is a case where a hashtag should be replaced with a 700 page novel,” says FOX 8 Political Analyst Mike Sherman.
Sherman says in some cases, there’s a call to abolish the police, but he believes most people are talking about re-directing police funding.
“Aways from using the police as the only way of keeping law and order in the community and shifting funding to other social service providers,” says Sherman.
“In many respects, the police are being asked to do things that 20 years ago, they weren’t being asked to do,” says Rafael Goyeneche.
Rafael Goyeneche of the Metropolitan Crime Commission says the NOPD’s responsibilities have increased over the years as government has failed to respond to many social and medical problems.
“So, if you’re going to defund the police, if those funds are provided to make better services that reduces the workload on police, that could be a positive thing,” says Goyneche.
“Whether it’s mental health or homelessness, it’s about shifting funding from police departments which are the largest single line items in the while municipal budget to other providers who can provide that care, and that’s already happening,” says Sherman.
In a statement from the Mayor’s Office, they city says it’s focused on making investments in the community. The city says it’s also invested $55 million in reforming the NOPD to ensure constitutional policing, and it says there’s been positive results.
“So defunding is taking and redirecting resources from the policy agency to another component and our council and our Mayor have been doing a great job doing that,” says Chief Shaun Ferguson.
NOPD Chief Shaun Ferguson says while he hopes no funding is taken from his department, he understands the public outcry.
Meanwhile, the Mayor’s Communications Director, Beau Tidwell says, ‘defunding the NOPD is not under consideration but identifying new ways of investing in our community is.’
Councilmember Jason Williams believes the call to defund the police should be explored further. Williams wants to create a citizens advisory committee to examine the allocation of city resources.
“The voices that are making these calls, I’ve talked to them and they have some good ideas. We need to bring their good ideas off the streets and into City Hall to help us craft a better criminal justice system,” says Williams.
Williams did not say exactly how many people would be on the committee or when it would be established.